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Deer Lakes School District rejects tentative budget with tax increase

| Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 10:15 p.m.

District property owners likely won't be facing a tax hike next school year.

The school board rejected a proposed preliminary $31.6 million spending plan for 2012-13 that included a 0.55-mill tax increase. The increase had been suggested to help cover $500,000 in debt payments that will begin in 2014-15.

When the school board refinanced debt earlier this year, the agreement reduced annual payments for two years, said Business Manager John Zenone.

State law limits how much school boards can raise taxes each year, so Zenone is pushing for about a half-mill tax hike both this year and next year to bring in enough revenue to cover the debt service payments. One mill brings in about $660,000, he said.

"I'm trying to ask them to look down the road and set the millage," he said.

A tax increase would mean about a $45 to $49 tax increase per household, Zenone said.

Board members also voted against the tax increase in January.

Zenone said at this point it would be unlikely that the board would pass a budget with a tax increase.

"I understand we're in very difficult financial times," school board President Lisa Merlo said.

District officials still have to figure out where the money to cover debt payments will come from.

The district plans on using Public Financial Management to help review revenues and expenses in preparation for next school year's budget and future debt payment.

Officials have until June 30 to pass a budget.

Other business

Curtisville Primary Center Principal Christopher Brough is voluntarily returning to a teaching position.

His new status as a teacher will go into effect July 1.

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